Hello everyone! Today just happens to be my 23rd year on this planet of ours and I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been doing with all of you. I had a nice draft written about beekeeping with pictures and everything and unfortunately it disappeared. But that’s no problem, I don’t mind re-writing it, although I wish I still had those pictures. Oh well!
I can’t say that I’ve always been particularly interested in bees. To be honest,I suppose I’ve felt rather indifferent about bees and the work they do for the majority of my life. Bees never really bothered me so I didn’t bother them. Well, that all changed during my last semester at HPU. I decided to take an Anthropology of Food course with one of my favorite professors. I ended up reading into the topic of bees and their relation to our food system and from then on I became fascinated with how important bees really are. I was surprised to learn that bees are such efficient and vital pollinators for many plants that we depend on for food. I ended up writing a paper about a policy solution to the bee crisis in an attempt to outline protections for bees from issues like colony collapse syndrome in relation to pesticides and stress on colonies from traveling to pollinate agricultural crops.
Ever since I relocated to Louisiana, I’ve wanted to work with beekeepers to actually learn about the beekeeping process and the animal husbandry involved to supplement the somewhat primitive knowledge I had gained through my own research. I haven’t had much luck contacting the beekeepers in the North Louisiana region until recently. I happened to stumble upon a honey vendor at the base exchange (BX) on the Air Force base and after a quick conversation I was able to meet a beekeeper that would allow me to learn more about beekeeping! About two weeks ago, I had the great opportunity to link up with the beekeeper of Ransom Produce and shadow him around his farm and beekeeping operation.
I must say that I am shocked at how efficient and self sufficient bees really are. The bees practically do all of the work and provide the beekeeper with high-quality product. I still am amazed at how low maintenance beekeeping is and I can say that I’ve developed a much greater respect for bees and the work that they do.
Now, you might be wondering; “Okay bees are cool, but what do they have to do with Senegal and what you will be doing there?” They have a lot to do with Senegal actually! As major pollinators, bees help crops by transferring pollen between plants in return for nectar and this helps create fruits and food crops while providing the bees with the resources to sustain themselves and create sweet honey. I have a deep desire to work with beekeeping as my secondary project and in Senegal there are volunteers currently working with beekeeping. From what I have researched, Peace Corps in the Gambia have an institutionalized beekeeping program that partners with a UK non-profit named Africa BEECause. This non-profit provides valuable training and knowledge to volunteers to disseminate to their sites to provide a sustainable beekeeping operation. Bees can provide pollination to crops, sweet honey, and beeswax that local farmers/beekeepers can sell for additional income. In addition to providing another source of income, protecting and utilizing bees will benefit local forests and plant/animal biodiversity from inappropriate farming techniques. According to Africa BEECause, can increase crop yields by 40 percent and that is directly related to my work as a sustainable agriculture volunteer! With that said, I will do my best to continue learning about beekeeping and hopefully it will pay off and I can utilize that knowledge in a secondary project!
In other news, I am nearing the 6 month mark before I depart which means medical clearance will begin soon. Sadly, I’ve had to part with my beloved skateboard this week in order to prevent the risk of an injury. While that is kind of a hard blow, I will make sure to find other activities that keep me healthy and busy!